Fathers Day Red Snapper
Every year for Father’s Day or Father’s Day weekend, my dad and I go fishing offshore in his boat for whichever wreck species is open besides vermillion and eat it for Father’s Day dinner. My dad’s fishing passion is offshore in the deep blue. I used to love fishing offshore as well, until they regulated so tightly and began closed seasons that overlapped species of the same environment. That’s when I turned to inshore and my passion for redfish came alive. This year was a little different for us, as we were using Dad’s new boat.
My dad had a 235 Parker and sold it in the last year. Dad had the Parker for 12 years, and it was a great boat. Dad is in his 70s and it was becoming too much boat; he needed to downsize to something he could take out with Mom or his friends and not need me there to help. I don’t mind helping, the issue is he is retired and I work full time. Before the gentleman that bought Dad’s boat showed up, I copied some numbers to my phone that we found trolling, then erased the machine.
Dad bought a 19 Sportsman center console, deep V, rigged with a simrad GPS and Sonar. Perfect boat for him and a great day boat for fishing offshore. We loaded up, each had a barrel combo and a 6000-spinning combo, sabiki rig, frozen cigar minnows, frozen squid, frozen shrimp, and a cooler full of waters and tea. We stopped by the buoys on the way to rock pile to jig live cigars with sabiki.
We arrived 7 miles offshore, found the rock pile, and dropped a cut cigar. Felt a bump and reeled up a 12-inch snapper. Dad dropped, hooked up and reeled up a small trigger. We continued this pattern for over an hour, moved around the pile and caught small snappers and triggers. I looked at Dad and asked him if he was OK if we tried a different spot, and he was. I pulled out my phone and found the numbers that said rock pile, snapper and grouper.
I entered the numbers in the machine, and off we went. What notes I failed to put in my phone were headings and distances. We are running roughly 23 mph as the Gulf was a little rough from the storms that kept blowing through, and we tried not to beat us or the boat to death. After about 30 minutes of running, Dad asked where this pile was, Cuba? I didn’t know but informed him if he saw a boat that said policio, let me know, as we would need to head back in.
We finally arrived at the numbers. I stared circling with the map zoomed in and set the sensitivity on the sonar for bottoms to find the pile. I circled roughly five to 10 minutes with the circles expanding to 500 yards from the numbers. I couldn’t find limestone, rocks, wreck, a soda can, nothing on that bottom. I felt bad and thought we just rode 22 miles off shore according to GPS for a desert. I went directly on the numbers and told him to drop. He dropped to the bottom at 110 feet deep and I sat there watching the machine, hoping to find something.
Out of nowhere, literally, a school of fish formed between 30 and 50 feet below the boat, and drifted with the boat. I put on a cut cigar, dropped what I estimated to be 40 feet, locked the barrel, and the rod bowed and drag pulled. Got the fish in, a 25-inch red snapper. We had a school of big snapper hanging with the boat. We caught our four red snapper limits, the smallest 24 inches, in 10 minutes. Never found anything on the bottom, but the snapper came from somewhere. Which made me very glad — I never would have heard the end of a 22-mile boat ride to a desert.
Regardless, we didn’t find the pile, but we found the fish and caught enough for a great Father’s Day family dinner, and Dad and I had that time making smiles and memories.